Chasing 42

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Archive for the tag “hydration”

Checking In: Tucson Travels

Did you miss me? Did you notice I was a bit absent? I’ll assume some love and a giant “yes” and move forward 🙂 The past 3+ weeks have been a whirlwind of travel and hectic work responsibilities, hence my lack of recent posts. However, fear not as I plan to catch you up to speed on my travels and varied running adventures.

By the time I pulled into the driveway around 2PM this past Monday, I realized that I had slept out of a suitcase for 16 of the previous 21 days. I made my way to Tucson and San Juan for work, and to Tulsa for the amazing Route 66 Marathon. It makes fairly logical sense to start at the beginning, so let me share a bit about my Tucson travels.

Tucson1

I headed down on the 5th for a multicultural education conference, and was almost instantly greeted by warmer temperatures (shocking in Arizona, right?!). The highs hovered around 80 the entire time I was there, which was almost too warm, but I wasn’t complaining. I immediately started hydrating to compensate for the dry air, but probably never fully did the job. However, I managed to get in several great runs while I was down there. They only added to my love of Arizona trails, and the winter climate. Remind me again why we wait until we retire to split our time during the year between two locations?

The conference was at the Hilton El Conquistador, which was a bit out-of-the-way, and not really my style of travel, but a lovely location. If you love to golf and sit by a pool, then this is the spot for you. Alas, I enjoy neither of these activities, but I also knew I would be rather busy anyway so it was of little significance. Luckily, I arrived a day early, and the hotel offered a shuttle out to Catalina State Park. I made a few new friends on the shuttle from the airport, and we decided to head out to the park together. Once we got there, I took off on my own for some trail exploration.

Tucson2

It had been a year or so since my last visit to Arizona, and I tried my best to remember the impact of climate differences but the elevation and dry heat still took me by surprise! I followed a fairly well-worn trail, but I still had to keep my eyes open to make sure I wasn’t making any wrong turns. The switchbacks and constant climbing were simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting, and I loved every minute of it. I made my way down the Romero Canyon Trail towards the Romero pools, and the views were spectacular from every angle. I had a hard time not stopping every 100 feet to soak up the scenery and take pictures (as well as catch my breath a bit). At one point, I had naively thought I could have made it to the base of Mt. Lemon, but the distance was a bit far off and I dialed back my expectations, especially considering the sun would be setting soon and I probably didn’t want to get stuck out in the desert by myself at night (without a torch)! I made my way back and met up with the others to hop on the shuttle back to the hotel.

Tucson3

The next day, I squeezed in a shorter run out to a nearby trailhead that wound up the foothills of the Catalina Mountains. I ran into another runner out of the trail, and he gave me some great advice for the journey ahead. I love the fact that runners always seem to be ready to help one another out, whether they know each other or not. I made sure to bring my headlamp this time, and I pulled it out as the sun was setting over the mountains and I made my way back down towards the hotel. The colors were just spectacular, and it was hard not to just stop and watch the patchwork quilt of reds, oranges, and yellows unfold before me. My lack of local wildlife knowledge propelled me forward, however 🙂

Tucson4

On my last full day, I headed out for a Saturday long run, intent on doing as much exploring as possible. I managed to wander between several different trailheads that were connected by roads in a neighboring development. Even in the early morning hours, the sun was already out in full force, and I was happy to find a place to refill my water bottle along the way. Even though this was my 5th run in Arizona, the dry heat and elevation still slowed me down and I had to be quite intentional about tempering my expectations. Once I did that, however, I had a blast. My eyes darted back and forth, intent on taking in as much of the surrounding scenery as possible, and committing these happy moments to memory.

Tucson5

My five days in Tucson were jam-packed with meetings and presentations, but I was lucky to find the time to get out and explore a new area of Arizona. I wished I had more time to hike up into the Catalina Mountains, especially after reviewing all of the trail maps, but that just means I have another to-do item for my bucket list.

Next up on my travel log is a trip to San Juan, PR with the epicurean…stay tuned!

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Race Report: Backroads 100K

I’ve had a rather heavy training year thus far, and came to the conclusion that perhaps I had piled on a few more miles than were necessary after Flatrock. So, I entered this weekend’s Booneville Backroads 100K with a comfortable taper-filled week and plenty of energy as I sought to rid myself of the 100K demon 🙂 I’ve tackled the 100 mile/ 24-hour distance, and I’ve tackled the 50 mile distance on numerous occasions, but the 100K distance had thus far eluded me. It was only appropriate then, that my first 100K finish was at the first and only 100K race in the state of Iowa. The Backroads 100K was offered for the first time this year (along with a 50k and 50k relay), and it offered a “scenic” tour of the country gravel roads of southern Iowa, including a tour of the bridges of Madison County. It was a hot, hilly, and challenging experience, and one I will certainly remember for some time to come!

Plenty of gravel and open fields lined the route!

Plenty of gravel and open fields lined the route!

The epicurean and I headed down to Des Moines on Thursday to pick up my race packet, as well as drop off my drop bag for the race, which would be placed at the 50K mark. We headed back down to Des Moines the following night for a brief stay in a hotel, which we agreed would make the early wake-up time on Saturday morning much more bearable. We got to the hotel around 10pm after putting the dogs to bed, and I set out my gear for the following morning so I’d be able to put as little mental energy as possible into getting ready. This is important when you aren’t exactly a morning person and the alarm is going off at 4:30AM. I got about 5 hours of sleep and woke up slowly to get ready and load up into the car. The aid station placement seemed a bit spread out, so I decided to wear my Salomon pack, as well as carry two 17 oz. Salmon soft flasks up front. I opted for my Hoka Stinson Evos to give my feet some comfort over the longer distance, which seemed to make sense since we would be mainly on gravel roads but the terrain wasn’t terribly technical. I ordered a pair of dirty girl gaiters (review coming soon) the week before, and utilized them as well. These three gear choices proved to be crucial throughout the day!

Backroads-2

We drove to the start and arrived around 5AM. The instructions had asked that we arrive an hour early, but in reality we could have arrived 30 minutes early and still been fine. There were 34 runners signed up to toe the line at 6AM for the 100K, but only 22 of us began the race. We gathered under the finish arch for a quick picture, and then we were off. The hills introduced themselves almost immediately, and they camped out on my legs for the next 13+ hours. The route took us south, with the description listing 85% gravel roads, 10% level B roads, and 5% pavement. They marked the course with small orange construction flags, but we were told not to rely on them and were also given direction cards to help keep us on track. There seemed to be some fear that locals might swipe the flags or move them, but this might have been more paranoia than reality. I would have certainly appreciated more pronounced signage throughout the course. I didn’t mind following my cue cards towards the beginning, but my focus and mental acuity tends to fade a bit after 30 miles or so 🙂

I did my best to go out relatively slowly so that I wouldn’t burn out too early. This seems to be a constant concern for me, no matter how much I focus on it, but I probably did better this time around than in many previous races. The aid stations were 10-12 miles apart (with coolers set up in between), which was indeed a bit far, so my bladder and extra bottles proved to be invaluable. It was relatively cool at the start, with a few clouds overhead, and the first 10 miles went by pretty easily. Aside from a few folks that started out pretty fast, most of us were clumped together  and able to chat along the route as we made our way down the endless country roads. I seemed to have always been with someone or within sight of someone else, which was quite welcome, especially considering the small field. The first aid station approached, but we weren’t greeted with much (water, Gatorade, GU), so I was happy that I had made sure to pack my own nutrition as well.

No race is complete without a goat farm :)

No race is complete without a goat farm 🙂

The sun asserted itself as the morning wore on, and by the time we approached the 50K mark, Mother Nature was doing a fine job of heating us up. We got our first taste of the “B roads” before pulling into the aid station, and were amused by the car that had clearly made a poor judgement call when attempting to drive through some rather deep mud and water. I arrived at the 50K aid station with a few other runners who I’d ended up falling in pace with earlier on and it was great to have folks to chat with and help pass the time, as well as confirm my directional choices! I refilled my hydration bladder, topped off my bottles, and took in some additional nutrition before heading out again. We had hit the 50K mark in 5:15, which was a bit faster than I probably should have been going, but I was still feeling pretty good and in high spirits.

I headed out with another runner who happened to also be a grad student at ISU, so we found plenty of topics to help pass the time. We picked up another guy not too long afterwards, and the three of us would ultimately finish the race together, along with a 4th runner. Around mile 35, my left IT band began to sting quite a bit more than normal. It was a rather sudden and sharp pain, which was something I hadn’t felt before. I pulled back and walked a bit so I could massage it, and the pain subsided somewhat, but still managed to follow me for the remainder of the race. I’ve always felt that ultras are more mental than physical at certain points, and this certainly became the case as we pushed on.

One of the four historic bridges of Madison County. Yes, THOSE "Bridges of Madison County".

One of the four historic bridges of Madison County. Yes, THOSE “Bridges of Madison County”.

The three of us eagerly anticipated an aid station around mile 40, so we gave ourselves permission to walk a bit. Unfortunately, the aid station was a few miles further down the road, and we were running low on water. We were forced to walk quite a bit more than we would have liked, and the aid station at mile 42 was a welcome relief, even after getting a bit lost and adding some distance! Some rehydration, a hit of ibuprofen, some more sunscreen, and I was back on my way. I managed to convince myself I was lost a ways down the road, and doubled back, but was on the right track and met up with the others I was running with along the way. After a few more miles, we caught up with the 4th member of our finishing pack. This proved to be a pivotal moment for all of us.

Walking backwards...wait, that was supposed to be "backROADS"...right!

Walking backwards…wait, that was supposed to be “backROADS”…right!

We met him at the base of a hill (I’m pretty sure we were always either going up or coming down a hill), and invited him to join us. At this point, we were taking the day one mile at a time, and trading point-to-point directions to keep ourselves moving. All of our legs were feeling it at this point, and the heat was no friend. The 4th member of our crew was in the same boat and happy to join. As it happened, his brother and other family members were following him along the course and providing a portable aid station of sorts. He graciously offered his resources to us, and this roaming aid station made all the difference in the world! We were able to soak bandanas and hats in ice water, sip on cold water and diet Mt. Dew, and break up the run even more along the way. His brother and family proved to be the best aid station out there for us, and we were all eternally grateful for this mobile hospitality.

We continued to click off the miles, and finally arrived at the last aid station at mile 53. This particular station was run by a member of the GOATz running club out of Omaha, and was a sight for sore eyes. She had originally signed up to run the race, but pulled out due to injury and decided to come up and volunteer instead. She purchased some of her own food, coke, and supplies, and put out quite a spread for us. This was a wonderful final boost for us as we pushed on for the last 9 miles. The dust being kicked up by the occasional car or truck, combined with the heat, and my sore left IT band, made for a somewhat painful push to the end, but I was determined to see this race through, and the four of us formed a fantastic support system and stayed motivated as a result.

Heading towards the finish line!

Heading towards the finish line!

As we entered the final mile and knew the finish line was in sight, our spirits were lifted the little bit extra that it takes to finish an endurance event. We made the final turn, and could see the finish line ahead of us, so we all decided we would eek out what remaining energy we had and make sure we were running across that line. We should have known better, as we had been fooled by the long, deceptive country roads all day, but we probably began running a bit sooner than we thought. However, the excitement at finishing was enough to keep the adrenaline pumping, and the four of us crossed the finish line with smiles on our faces. There was no question that I had left everything out on the course, and I was quite pleased to have crossed the line in 13 hours and 39 minutes. The unexpected challenges on the course were offset by the supportive camaraderie and great conversations that helped all of us pass the time. The RD and race staff did a great job pulling together the race in the end, and I’m excited to see how this race unfolds in the future as the ultra-running community grows in Iowa!

The more races I run, the more I realize why I enjoy pushing myself so much. The memories, experiences, images, and stories I walk away with after each of these events solidifies their value in my mind. I feel alive in such a unique way during these events, and those life experiences become a part of me. My legs may still be a bit sore, but I exercised the 100K demon, crossed the distance off my list, and I’m already scouring race websites for more challenges to come!

100K- check!

100K- check!

Getting Reacquainted With My Bike…the hard way!

You may recall me mentioning my bike a bit more last year. Of course, if you are fairly new to my blog, then odds are you haven’t gone back that far to read old posts and you have no idea what I’m talking about. In that case, you can take my word for it that I spent a lot of time on my bike last year! If you have been reading my blog since last year…shhhh…just keep your mouth shut and try not to burst the aura of awesomeness the newer folks are feeling emanating from their computer screens right now.

Either way, my focus since January has been about 99% running, and my Trek 2.1 has wept accordingly, hanging out in the basement and avoiding the leaks in the floor from the heavy rain. I did manage to move my trusty Trek onto the trainer over the winter with the help of a friend. Despite all my riding, my ability to change out tires and tubes leaves a bit to be desired. Thus, you may want to bump me down a few notches on your emergency tire call list. Just sayin’. Now, just like simply owning shoes doesn’t mean you put them on and get out the door for a run, simply owning a really pretty bike doesn’t mean you get on it and log any miles. Up till this point, I had completed approximately 4 trainer rides, totaling about 60 miles. By approximately, I mean exactly, and by “up till this point”, I mean since September. Needless to say, my legs and butt were not properly acclimated to cycling.

A great group to ride with...self-portrait style!

A great group to ride with…self-portrait style!

So, when a few great friends invited me for a century ride on my rest day, during a low mileage running week, I obviously said yes immediately! Now, what I really mean is I told them that if they helped me put my road tires back on and grease my chain, I would begrudgingly accompany them on their much-too-early bike ride. After a nice and relaxing 4th of July with the beautiful epicurean, I woke up at 5AM the next day to eat a small breakfast and head over to their house to meet them for our ride. At 5AM, on what is a vacation day for most folks, it’s pretty darn quiet in a small town in Iowa. Everyone is sleeping. I couldn’t help but think about the comfy bed I left behind as I pedaled down the road toward their house…then back to my house when I realized I forgot my sunglasses, and then back to their house. I didn’t exactly know the route for the day, and they assured me they would be moving at a comfortable pace, with the goal being simply to reach 100 miles. Have I mentioned yet that this was basically my first time on the bike all year? I should also mention they’ve been riding all year, and are training for Ironman Wisconsin. Hmmmm…I wonder if our definitions of “comfortable” are the same?

Taking a...ummm..."break" on the side of the road :)

Taking a…ummm…”break” on the side of the road 🙂

We headed south out-of-town, and were quickly traveling down a country road I’d never been on before. I like exploring uncharted (by me) territory, so this was exciting. It was still relatively cool outside, and we had the road to ourselves. At this point, 17-20 mph seemed perfectly reasonable. It wouldn’t seem nearly as reasonable 80 miles later, but I’ll get to that in good time. We headed south again, and picked up the High Trestle Trail in Woodward. This trail has only been open a few years, but has become incredibly popular, and for good reason. After about 10 miles, we crossed over the Des Moines River, and the view from the bridge is fantastic! It was still early enough, so traffic on the trail was light. We hit the 50-mile mark in Slater, where the trail turns south towards Ankeny.

This kitten wanted to welcome us to the trail...and grope my rear tire.

This kitten wanted to welcome us to the trail…and grope my rear tire.

At this point, one of our friends had to head back to Ames to get back in time for work. My legs were feeling mildly tired, but I was still in pretty good shape. Nonetheless, I still thought long and hard about heading back to Ames with him. Alas, my internal competition is far too great, and I knew I’d kick myself if I didn’t keep going. I kept my mouth shut, and continued on. We hit Ankeny, and cut under the interstate, and up some nice, rolling hills. Ok, so they would have been nice and rolling if my legs didn’t have 60 miles on them at that point. I was certainly happy to start heading north, and let the tailwind provide a little natural propulsion. Aside from moving a bit more to the east, the northern direction was definitely well-earned, and I was feeling pretty darn good, all things considered. Mind you, my butt was screaming at me, but it had been doing that for the last 40 miles, and showed no signs of letting up, so I just accepted it as a given.

Stopping for some water...a nice couple offered to take our photo, and leave their mark as well.

Stopping for some water…a nice couple offered to take our photo, and leave their mark as well.

When we hit mile 90 or so, we headed back west towards Ames. That’s when my legs began to revolt, and my speed dropped to a more mandatory 12 or 13 mph. The wind was still blowing from the south, which meant it was trying to blow me over personally during the entire last segment of the ride. Mother nature and I do have a bit of a love/hate relationship. She’s the jealous type as it turns out. Even so, a nice friendly push from my friends made the final few miles much easier, and I made my way back into town. I arrived home around 3pm, and felt every bit as tired as sitting on a tiny, hard bike seat for 9 hours would suggest. I managed to avoid most of the sunburn that typically haunts me, but I had plenty of other more “delicate” bruises. My body had to remind me of my crazy somehow, right? Despite it all, it was a wonderful day with friends, and I couldn’t have been happier with the experience. The bike will probably always play second fiddle to my endurance running addiction, but it’s great to maintain my relationship with cycling as well!

We had most of the country roads to ourselves...

We had most of the country roads to ourselves…

except for the trains!
except for the trains!

Regardless of the GPS readings, we knew we had hit our mark, and it felt great knowing I had tackled this challenge…more challenges to come!

GPS readings aren't an exact science :)

GPS readings aren’t an exact science 🙂

A Few Moments of Heat-Induced Clarity

For the past two days, I’ve headed out for a run with Looper, our new Vizsla, around 11AM. On both occasions, this seemed like a perfectly reasonable time of day. However, Iowa finally decided it was summer (after skipping spring all together), so it’s been getting rather warm rather quickly. Now, I will never claim to be a fan of heat, but I can usually put up with it. However, we are still getting way more rain than we really need, which means it has also been wicked humid. This is a bad combination!

After two years living without a leash, Looper is slowly learning to run next to me and not pull too much. She still wants to be in the lead, and she is still skittish around large trucks, bikes, and trains, but is otherwise settling in nicely. Interestingly, running with a new dog gives you a new awareness of your surroundings, and most certainly a new awareness of the heat! She is proving to be an excellent barometer for how far we should be running, when we should be hydrating, and is giving me a refreshed awareness of my surroundings. These past two days have left me with a few moments of clarity in an otherwise foggy, heat-saturated brain. I’ve found myself remembering:

It's not Arizona, but still plenty hot for me!

It’s not Arizona, but still plenty hot for me!

  • 10AM- 2PM is not necessarily the best time to run- when the sun is at its peak, it might be best to stay inside, at least during the hot summer months. This may end up being more difficult considering my schedule, but I have a feeling it will lead to much more comfortable runs for both of us!
  • Shade is your friend…unless it’s humid- On both days, I headed for local parks and trails, in search of shade that might provide us with some reprieve. Unfortunately, with the shade we found the humidity increasing as well, so it was definitely a trade-off in terms of comfort.
  • Slowing your pace matters- I’ve been very focused on pacing during my training, and seem to have forgotten that I should be slowing my pace in the heat…oops! When Looper suddenly pulls up to flop down on the ground and cool off, it’s a nice reminder to slow down. Alas, she picks up right where she left off when we start running again!
  • Drinking every 1/2 mile isn’t overkill- I normally try to hydrate every mile, and I’ve gotten accustomed to carrying a water bottle on every run. However, in this heat, setting my watch to remind me to drink every 1/2 mile is quite helpful!
  • I sweat ALOT- I’m fairly certain that I’m one of the 1 in 4 that sweats more than the average person. This fact was reinforced over the past two days, and I’m on a continual quest to find the best sweat-management techniques. If anyone has suggestions, I’m all ears!
  • Dogs hijacking your pace = trouble- Looper is a very willful dog, and when she wants to stop, she does. On the flip side, she pushes onward with seemingly no effort whatsoever, and the result has been a much faster pace than I had intended. I think we are going to need to talk about who is pacing whom!
  • Ice cubes sooth an overheated Vizsla- I always make sure there is a nice big bowl of water waiting for her when we get back. On a whim, I gave her an ice cube to see if she wanted to chew on it. It slid around in my hand, and I realized she loved them. At one point, she was lying on her side, on the dining room floor, with several ice cubes placed on her belly…ridiculous!
One tired Vizsla!

One tired Vizsla!

Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie Goodness!

My summer schedule has allowed me/ forced me to structure my days without the help of set meeting times or teaching times. I’m spending the summer teaching online courses while working on finishing my dissertation. When I’m not reading feminist theory, sexuality, sexuality education, and educational policy, you can find me breaking up the routine with a cup of coffee (hot, of course, no matter the temperature outside!) and a good book from my “fun read” list. After reading about Murakami’s thoughts on running, I turned my attention to the world of ultra-running. Increasing my distances in the last year has only made me want to push harder and further. This desire has been coupled with a revised healthy eating lifestyle courtesy of the beautiful epicurean. Thus, Eat & Run was a natural selection for my reading pleasure. Scott Jurek epitomizes the benefits of healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle better than any endurance athlete I’ve encountered. The further I get into the book, the more I am realizing just how amazing this guy truly is, and I’ve found something to strive for in his words.

Smoothie-01

A full review of the book is forthcoming, but I wanted to share a sneak peek in the meantime. One of my favorite parts about the book is his inclusion of some of his favorite recipes at the end of each chapter. He tosses in full meals, recovery snacks, and mid-run nutrition recipes, and I plan to try most of them. My first attempt was a delicious smoothie recipe with an anti-inflammatory focus. Much of our overall dietary focus has been on eating an anti-inflammatory diet, and the positive results have spoken for themselves. This smoothie is both refreshing, rehydrating, and wicked anti-inflammatory to boot. After a few minor modifications, the recipe includes a nice mix of readily available ingredients.

Strawberry Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie 

2 cups water

1 banana

1 cup frozen or fresh strawberries

1/2 cup frozen mango

1/2 cup frozen pineapple

1/2 cup smooth silken tofu

1/4 cup dried coconut flakes

3 tablespoons Flax Oil

1 tablespoon brown rice protein powder

1 1/2 teaspoons miso

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 1-inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced

Nothing left to do but blend!

Nothing left to do but blend!

The original recipe called for shelled edamame in place of the tofu, but that proved rather difficult to find in Iowa, ironically enough. The Flax Oil replaced Flora Oil 3-6-9 blend, with the omega-3 content being fairly similar. Be careful with the turmeric as well, since it has a nasty habit of staining just about anything in sight! Once you’ve assembled your ingredients, you have only to toss them all into the blender and mix on high for a minute or two, until it is smooth and pourable. It definitely helps that we a Vitamix, the Bentley of blenders as well 🙂 The recipe should make 2 12-oz. smoothies, or one 24-oz. smoothie if you aren’t in a sharing mood! We have now made this smoothie twice, once before a long run, and once afterwards. It has proven to be amazingly hydrating, and a fantastic energy boost as well. This anti-inflammatory smoothie goodness will definitely be finding a place into the regular nutritional rotation!

It only seemed appropriate to serve them in our recently earned Exile Brewing glasses!

It only seemed appropriate to serve them in our recently earned Exile Brewing glasses!

But I’m Not Thirsty! Winter Hydration

It is perhaps perfect timing for me to be thinking about hydration and longing for the hot summer months as a winter storm bears down on the entire state of Iowa. As I’ve discussed before, thinking about hydration comes pretty naturally during the summer months when you feel like you can’t possibly drink enough water to keep up with the sweating, and you wish it was socially acceptable to run naked just so your core temperature was a bit lower. Ok, perhaps running naked would present its own challenges, but you know what I mean. However, when winter sets in, the temperature drops, the snow falls to the ground, and the wind cuts through me like a knife (at least in Iowa, where there is nothing to break it!), the last thing I’m thinking about consistently is hydration. I guess I’m just much less likely to feel thirsty when the snot is freezing to my face 🙂 However, at the point where I’m not feeling the need to hydrate, I need it even more!

But how do I drink the water in the first place?

But how do I drink the water in the first place?

There are a number of considerations to keep in mind during the winter months with regard to hydration:

1. You still sweat– This is probably the hardest fact for me to remember at times! When I’m out in the cold, my core temperature warms up eventually, and even my fingers and toes find some heat after about 6 miles, but I never have the reminder of sweat dripping down my face. It’s not until I step inside out of the cold that I realize my base layers are soaked pretty thoroughly.

2. Lower humidity The cold hair is typically much drier, unless it happens to be precipitating. This means you are at an even greater risk of dehydration.

3. Access to Water- During the summer months, I can head out for most of my runs around town and not even bother bringing a water bottle. Our community has a wonderful park system, and water fountains are everywhere. However, these fountains are obviously turned off during the winter months so the pipes don’t freeze. I still have the option of stopping at gas stations and other retail locations, but my overall access to water is much more limited. Carrying it becomes that much more important!

4. Water freezes- I know you are shocked by this revelation in science. When the cold sets in, the ability to drop water along the route or even carry it with you becomes compromised. Carrying water doesn’t do you much good if you end up with a block of ice in your hand after 45 minutes! Now, adding sugar (as in most nutrition beverages such as Gatorade or Powerade) does lower the freezing point of the liquid, but I try to stay away from sugary energy drinks, especially if there is some sugar in my solid nutrition.

5. Your blood thickens- As the temperature drops, blood viscosity increases. This means your heart is working harder to pump blood to your limbs, and you risk not getting enough oxygen to your extremities. This makes hydration, and the use of electrolytes that much more important!

I’m certainly much more likely to stay hydrated if I remember to bring water with me, as opposed to designing a limited route that stops at the various locations where I still have access to water. This year, I’ve been using the Salomon pack below for most of my long runs. The bottle is insulated, which means my water never freezes, and there is plenty of storage room for all of the nutrition I need, no matter the distance. You can find plenty of insulated water bottles online as well, and incorporate them into the gear you already own/use.

Salomon Pack

Salomon Bottle- 2

If you are looking for some more information on winter running, you can check out these resources below, courtesy of HowStuffWorks:

Sources

Beer Run!

After an extreme endurance challenge, I had no intentions of over-exerting myself the following weekend. In effect, I’m in tapering mode again as I prepare for the Northface 50K in Kansas City on November 17th. Luckily, as I have mentioned many times before, I have some amazing friends who like to mix things up during our regular group runs. Thus, it seemed like perfect timing when a good friend announced his plans for a beer run during our regular Saturday morning group run. The result was another in a series of great running memories!

A great mid-run refueling stop!

The idea was pretty simple. Various folks volunteered to host beer/water stops and a route was crafted accordingly. I volunteered our house as a beer stop, as did five other friends. In all, we were able to cobble together a great 9-mile route. We met @ 7:30AM (its 5 O’Clock somewhere, right?) and cracked open a few beers before we headed out. We made two more stops, and then ended up at our house. I was trying my best to ration my consumption, as well as make sure I drink some water, but it was still a strange feeling to be drinking that early in the morning! I may work in a university setting, but it’s still been a decade since my undergraduate days 🙂

As luck would have it, Iowa State was playing a home football game with an 11AM kickoff. Several folks in our group are avid tailgaters, so we were able to stop by for a few more drinks, as well as some great tailgating food. We poured our shots, and toasted to good friends and great runs!

To al the miles we’ve yet to run!

Now, I can’t say that I plan on incorporating alcohol into my training plan, but it was certainly a fun experience! Running can become monotonous if you aren’t changing your routes, times, races, and training. However, I am quite confident that with great friends, running will never be boring! Next stop- organizing our own official beer mile 🙂

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